By the Staff of NYSportsJournalism.com
January 12, 2016: PepsiCo began the celebration of the 50th anniversary of Gatorade in late 2014 with a TV spot, "50 Years," that highlighted 50 sports incidents, with 1-50 representing numbers of legendary athletes or iconic moments.
No. 1 was the first time Gatorade was tested in 1965 by the University of Florida (Gators) football players, No. 2 was the retirement of Derek Jeter's No. 2 New York Yankees uniform, No. 6 was Michael Jordan celebrating his sixth NBA title with the Chicago Bulls.
The campaign reached its finale with another all-encompassing spot, "Moving the Game Forward," in November, which included Dwyane Wade, Lionel Messi, Abby Wambach, Eli Manning, Usain Bolt and other brand endorsers.
After half a century, Gatorade is still dominant in the sports drink category with about 70% of sales. Though down from a high of 81% in 2008, it remains a $1 billion business and is still far ahead of No. 2, Coca-Cola's PowerAde (at about 29%).
Among other events that celebrated the anniversary, Gatorade in September produced limited-edition squeeze bottled for the Gators' football team, held in conjunction with the NFL Draft returning to Chicago for the first time since 1964, a special "Gatorade Evolution of Football" panel discussion at the Art Institute of Chicago and re-launched Jordan’s favorite Gatorade flavor, Citrus Cooler.
Early in 2015, Gatorade unveiled an eight-week, three-phase campaign celebrating one of its most iconic campaigns, “Be Like Mike." A digitally re-mastered version of the commercial, 23 seasons after its debut, launched in February return during NBA All-Star Weekend.
Phase Two updated “Be Like Mike” via a trio of ad remixes, each bringing to life the essence of original ad through a variety of artistic and musical edits: "Move Like Mike," "Dream Like Mike" and "Groove Like Mike Remix."
Phase Three incorporated user-generated videos of "what it means to #BeLikeMike," along with videos from such Gatorade athletes as Mia Hamm, Abby Wambach, Usain Bolt, Bryce Harper, Jimmie Johnson, Cam Newton, April Ross, Jabari Parker, Serena Williams and Michael Jordan himself.
Stand-alone commercials during the year included Wambach's "Forget Me" retirement ode, Cam Newton playing in the Australian Football League in "The Footballers" and a spot, "From Virtual to Reality," in which the Prince George RBI Team took part in a Bryce Harper Virtual Reality Experience, which featured a visit from the real Bryce Harper.
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